Displays the amazing chemistry between two musicians who simply love to make music together.
Fleur Stevenson (voice); Pete Billington (piano, guitar, double bass, viola)
Recorded live at Crescent Studios
Following her last two album releases, Introducing Fleur Stevenson and Follow Me, the singer is back with a collection of standards, recorded live with the talented Pete Billington.
Both familiar faces on the London jazz scene, Stevenson’s honeyed tone and Billington’s ability to make each instrumental part his own, come together wonderfully; the duo effortlessly deliver a fresh interpretation of these well-known tunes. The duo’s noticeable chemistry makes this an intimate and emotive performance – a special musical moment they have let us be a part of.
‘A Time for Love’ instantly captures the listener. Its serene feel brings attention to Stevenson’s velvety and soothing tone, met with Billington’s meandering piano lines. The lack of instrumentation introduces us to the duo’s simplistic but captivating style, allowing the music to explain itself without the need for over-complication.
This is followed by a groovy interpretation of ‘When Sunny Gets Blue,’ beginning with a prominent bass piano line. Stevenson’s vocal flare carries the melody and smoothly passes the lead to Billinton, who emerges with an ornamental and expansive piano solo. The solo contains modal inflections and harmonic colour, which is duplicated in Stevenson’s bouncy scat improvisation, leading the song into its ambient outro.
‘Small Day Tomorrow’ begins with a change in instrumentation- Billington commences the song with a resonant double bass line. The song simply features vocals and double bass, an extremely effective contrast in sonority and texture. Stevenson’s versatile and charismatic vocals allow her to comfortably change her style and sound depending on the song. Here she adopts a moodier quality, swapping out her floatier, romantic sound for one with more attitude. The double bass solo is a particular moment of musical expertise, with a gritty and raw sound that brings us back to a live performance setting.
The album’s title track ‘For All We Know’ features guitar and vocals, bringing a new level of intimacy to the album. The way the moving guitar line and Stevenson’s emotive vocals intertwine, make this a true musical highlight.
Both ‘I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face’ and ‘Everything Must Change’ bring back Billington’s delicate and ornamental piano playing. ‘Everything Must Change’ has a repetitive piano line which gradually grows through the minor and melancholic tone of the song. Stevenson reflects this distinct emotive feel in the lyrical material, emphasising the song’s melancholic storyline.
The duo’s cover of the popular standard ‘Stella by Starlight’ is unique from the start, with Stevenson opening the song with a reshaped version of the lyrics and melody. This version features Billington on the viola, playing an almost baroque-like line underneath the vocals. This experimental take on the original is extremely effective and again demonstrates the pair’s musical creativity.
The duo’s musical connection can be heard in their take on popular, heart-warming jazz ballads, to their playful and energetic version of ‘My Buddy’. This album is incredibly emotive and displays the amazing chemistry between two musicians who simply love to make music together.
Reviewed by Isabel Marquez